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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
currently own a 1999 TJ 2.5 AX-5 and am very impressed with the suspension,
live front axle, frame, gearing, exstensive skid plates, utility, looks easy to work
on,fair gas mileage etc. etc. I basically chose strength and durability over the
"comfortable ride". I was originally considerng a New Toyota Tacoma 4X4 Pick
Up, but chose against it because initial impresstions told me that they had
cheesed on the frame over the previouse model (thinner metal).

My situation is this; I use the vehilce for remote camping/exploring and have to
carry certain stuff with me for safety reasons. Broken transmissions get people in
alot of trouble in boonies. Though I can deal with the rediculously low 400 lbs
cargo carrying capacity (when you consider the two drivers), everything fits and
the car drives fine.

The problem is this; on too many occasions I have had people (Jeepers & people
selling Jeep parts) tell me that my transmission & rear differential is "adequete"
for mild to moderate off road use. I was told that eventually, it will get harder to
get the trans in gear. I have been recommended replacing the trans with either a
T-18 or NV4500 ($4000). Not what I wanted to hear. Now, I know the saying "It's
not what you buy, it's what you build", but according to sources, both of these
trans weigh around 150lbs more than my existing trans. That leave you with 250
lbs cargo capacity; not much. Now the Dana 44 ($2600)might increase payload,
might need to upgrade to disc brakes($300)? Regear the diff's($200) so I can run
31's to make up for the loss in clearance of the 44, new lift to accomidate larger
tires ($800)and the lowering of transfer case. So, after I spent close to $8,000, I
may or may not have a vehicle that will carry the weight & won't over work the
trans and differentials.

Or, I can trade in the rig for a '95 Toyota (good years?), get money back,
additional 700lbs payload, 30 spline rear axle standard, good trans, even better
gas mileage, stock-so I don't need an index to figure out what parts to buy.
Unfortunately, it doesn't have solid front axle & the skid plates.

I don't want to sell, but I don't want to go broke trying to build the vehicle, keep
rebuilding the trans, and I don't want to have to walk out of the dessert. I can deal
with the rear diff, but the trans??

Trying to Keep Jeeping



Discussion Starter · #2 ·
You need to look at where you are wheeling and the amount of abuse you give the vehicle. If you are exploring areas in a desert and not doing allot of rock crawling you should be fine. When you do go over more agressive trails, how are you driving? Too fast and you cause more problems than going slow. Don't go building an extreme trail machine just because someone said too, look at the area you are wheeling in and decide from there. Yes, the upgrades will make a bullit proof trail machine, but if you can get to most of your trails on stock tires you shouldn't need to upgrade.

Just my opinion..... YMMV


Randy 80 CJ5

Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Rather then going to a D44 you could consider Drive tran directs' axle upgrade, From the posts here I don't think the transfer case is that bad in the end you can break anything even the most bullet proof build Jeep will fail

Most of the time it is not what you drive but how you drive.

93 YJ with stuff (and it is Blue!)

Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Your TJ should be fine for light-duty four-wheeling, but it sounds like you aren't happy with the size of it. If you need a pickup, by all means get one. They're infinitely more practical. But, if a stock Tacoma can conquer the trails you're on, your TJ should have no reliability problems.


/wwwthreads_images/icons/wink.gif Got Mud?
G.U.M.B.O. Mud Racing

1,246 Posts
I don't know what you pack with you, but the Tacoma will handle very serious 4wheeling right out of the box. You should be able to feel comfortable driving it with a load out into serious terrain. They are reliable with excellent offroad capabilities. If you don't want to wrench on your vehicle, they are probably the best choice.

Enjoying Montana's Big Sky (& rocks & rivers & mountians etc, You get the picture.)
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